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Microsoft Public Cloud Services: What the Cloud Can Do for Your Business

Blain Barton, the author of Microsoft Public Cloud Services: Setting up your business in the cloud, introduces his book and explains what the cloud can do for your business.
  • What is the cloud?
  • What kinds of Microsoft public cloud services are available?
  • What can Microsoft public cloud services do for your ­business?
  • Putting it all together

What is the cloud?

The cloud: no doubt you’ve heard that term. But if you’re like a lot of people, you might not know what it means—or how it could help your business.

Simply put, the cloud refers to software and services that run on the Internet. This is in contrast to the software and services that run locally, on your computer. The cloud is also used to store data. When you store data or use a cloud service, you can access the data from anywhere, using any device that connects to the Internet—not just from your computer’s hard drive or your company’s network server.

Although people talk about the cloud like it’s a single entity, it is in fact made up of massive datacenters all over the world. These centers store the programs and services that people access online, in addition to any data that users upload to the cloud.

There’s more than one cloud, and many different types, too. These types include the following:

  • Private cloud A cloud that is used solely by a single organization. In a private cloud, the datacenters that support the cloud are on the premises of the organization. The only people who can access the software and services in the cloud, or store data there, are people authorized by the organization to do so. Building and maintaining a private cloud can be a costly endeavor, and might be suitable only for very large organizations. Often, businesses use private datacenters because they need to support older physical computers that have been powering their organizations for years.
  • Public cloud Technically, in terms of architecture, there is little difference between a private cloud and a public cloud. But a public cloud is accessible by anyone who wants to use it. Anyone can access software and services on a public cloud, or store data there. Usually, software and services on a public cloud are offered on a “pay-as-you-go” basis, although some are free.
  • Hybrid cloud A hybrid cloud is what you might expect—a combination of a private cloud and a public cloud. An organization might take the hybrid cloud approach if, for example, it wanted to store sensitive data on a private cloud, but be able to access that data by using a program on a public cloud.
  • Community cloud In this model, a group of organizations with similar needs, interests, or concerns might share a private cloud in order to share resources.

The focus of this book is Microsoft public cloud services.